Small Business Need a Big Data Strategy that goes Beyond Cutting and Pasting

By: Brent Leary

The speed in which information is created on the Web is staggering. It is only getting faster as sensors, devices, people, better tools and automation combine to move us further into the Zetabyte Era (22 figure numbers).

I recently spoke with Dane Atkinson, CEO and co-founder of SumAll.com, a free marketing analytics platform that pulls data from sources like Facebook, Twitter, PayPal, and Google Analytics. Below are a few of his thoughts on why it is critically important to get past the fear of big data, and embrace what it can do for your business.

The Challenge of Big Data for Small Business

Atkinson:

It’s a real problem actually. We’re in a world now where data is almost a necessity. You can’t really optimize your business to run effectively unless you know what’s happening in all its different parts.

We have 125,000 businesses using us. Prior to our tool, most of them were sitting there on a Sunday night or a free moment loading up Excel and copying and pasting from one place to another to see if that social campaign actually had an effect.

How does SumAll help tackle that problem?

Atkinson:

When you create accounts in our service it takes seconds if not minutes to bring all the data from the service you’ve been using into one place so that it’s not hard to see adjacent to each other, and then let you play from there.

We see our customers’ delighted just to be able to say, “Oh, there’s the amount of money I made off Paypal for the last two years, and here’s my social activity in the last two years and let’s see where they actually correlate. Let’s see what’s working and what’s not.”

Are you seeing companies do a better job using a service like yours?

Atkinson:

Our customers have been doing very well compared to the overall market just by embracing information. Most companies get a 10 to 20 percent lift once they start to understand the key performance indicators they’re striving for, the key metrics they’re trying to push, the numbers they’re trying to manage.

Then having easy access to information gives them greater agility. So, they can see ‘I’ve had a lot of luck on Facebook getting likes, but I haven’t seen any increase in my traffic and certainly no increase in my revenue. I’ve had a little bit of luck [with] Instagram. I’ve seen some interesting correlating traffic and actually more interesting correlating revenue coming from it.’

You can’t piece those two things together unless the data sits next to each other.

What are some of the results your customers are seeing?

Atkinson:

There’s a huge time savings with people getting their hands on the data; a definite benefit that organizations start to run with data as part of their philosophy which tends to make it for better companies.

There’s still a huge need for education to happen. People will get a better sense of how to really look at the data, manage it and draw decisions from it. But just having it really is a big first step, and the market will mature as it gets more exposure to information.

On a scale of one to 10, how ready are small businesses to take advantage of a service like

yours?

Atkinson:

It’s an eight to 10 desire to get the information. They understand the pain of trying to figure things out the old-fashioned way in spreadsheets. Unfortunately, it’s still more of a three to four for how much they’re able to take that to the next level and start to run their business from it.

What we suggest is to familiarize yourself with the data and get close to it. Try to manage towards it so set some goals. Get people thinking about it. That usually creates the right conversations down the road.

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